Thanks to your generous support, CNEWA was able to provide life-saving aid to thousands of families whose lives were devastated by the blast in Beirut.
$6 million in aid was sent, with $1 million of it from Canada. But beyond material goods, thank you for giving them HOPE.
TESTIMONY FROM A LEBANESE FAMILY
Before the blast, Manale and her husband were struggling with low paying jobs when the blast swept away what little they had. Both lost their jobs and have been struggling since then.
With food prices skyrocketing, feeding her sick mother-in-law and her three children became a real nightmare. This added to the stressful fact that they were no longer able to afford rent.
Thanks to the generosity of CNEWA’s donors, Manale’s family received food packages, along with medical and psycho-social support.
“I can bring food to the table,” she says. “A real burden is off my shoulders.”
On August 4, 2021, Lebanon is commemorating one year since the catastrophic explosion in the port of Beirut that plunged the country from a serious socio-economic and political crisis into a deep depression. For the population of 4.5 million, it was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
In the past year alone, inflation rose 120% on basic commodities and food. The Lebanese pound lost over 1000% of its value. The COVID pandemic forced many lockdowns. 480,000 jobs were lost and everything is now in short supply — food, electricity, water, medicine and petroleum. The number of people living in poverty has jumped from 20% to 55% and it has fueled people’s frustration and anger.
Present in Lebanon since 1949, CNEWA’s Beirut office was able to respond rapidly through its many Church and Christian institution partners on the ground and is still working tirelessly assessing the ongoing needs of the community. Since the blast struck a large portion of the Christian quarter of Beirut, our support focused on ensuring that Christians can maintain a strong presence in Lebanon. Here is a general summary of what you supported:
HOW YOUR SUPPORT GAVE HOPE TO FAMILIES
Working with groups such as the Karagheusian socio-medical center, clinics run by various communities of religious sisters, and social service committees of various eparchies, CNEWA provided food packages to 15,230 families. The packages contained beans, flour, rice, dry milk, oil, dry pasta, tuna, and canned tomatoes, which should feed a family of four for one month. The families who received food – including Lebanese nationals, Palestinians, Iraqi or Syrian refugees, and migrant workers – were identified as most in danger of malnutrition.
Amount distributed: $963,300
HOME AND BUSINESS REPAIRS
Working closely with St. Vincent de Paul, CNEWA identified and repaired the homes of 109 families in central Beirut. The families chosen were drawn from the most vulnerable, including those who lost a family member in the explosion, lost their source of income or struggled with health conditions. CNEWA’s work included window and door replacement, electrical and plumbing work, wall repairs, painting and carpentry.
In addition, CNEWA identified 23 families and helped them repair their small shops or businesses, including hair and beauty salons, fruit and vegetable stands, and coffee shops.
Amount distributed: $151,800
Restoring two major Catholic hospitals and two clinics in Beirut: The Holy Family Sisters’ Geitawi University Hospital and the Rosary Sisters’ Hospital were able to resume their full range of medical services to patients. This allowed 1,150 employees and 170 university students to return to work and serve more than 100,000 in hospital and outpatients. The clinics run by the Daughters of Charity and the intercommunity Assembly of Religious Women were able to get back to work and serve more than 2,000 people, mostly from displaced and migrant families.
Providing medical assistance: About 1100 people received medications and vitamins, as well as various medical exams and treatments, at places like the Good Shepherd Sisters’ St. Anthony Dispensary in Rweissat and the intercommunity dispensary. CNEWA also donated 123 oxygen concentrators and 143 oximeters to 8 church-administered medical centers.
Providing psychological/spiritual care: Working through Oum el Nour, an outreach service for those struggling with substance abuse, founded by the retired Maronite Archbishop of Sarba, CNEWA provided access to therapies and counseling for those suffering from the effects of PTSD following the blast. Over 1,000 people (children, women and men) participated in these sessions.
Amount Distributed: $3,750,000
RESTORATION OF RELIGIOUS CENTERS
The principal areas impacted by the August blast, the neighborhoods of Achrafieh and Mar Mikael, are home to many convents and religious houses of men and women. Most of these places serve multiple purposes as schools and kindergartens to 9,000 children, as well as other programs for children with special needs, and medical support to another 5,000 people. CNEWA worked with 13 communities, representing six congregations of sisters, to rehabilitate their living quarters and their areas of service which were damaged significantly.
Amount distributed: $963,100
CNEWA’S PRIORITIES 2021-2022
The current situation in Lebanon is having a direct impact on the Christian presence in the country. In 1974 Christians represented over 55% of the population — it is now at 37% and hundreds have left or are planning to leave. Many of the educated who are leaving, especially Christian youth, are fed up and frustrated. Lebanon’s well respected Catholic schools are in danger of shutting their doors, as well as many important church institutions taking care of the most vulnerable.
For CNEWA and its partners, the priorities are clear: continue to feed families, provide medical care, stimulate job creation with small business programs, help pay tuition fees for children going to Catholic schools and support the institutions providing life-saving help to the marginalized and those with special needs.
Thank you on behalf of the thousands of families you helped in the past year. Your prayers and support have been a real blessing and a sign of hope. We pray that you can continue your support in the coming year and accompany the Lebanese people during these difficult times.